Connect with us


Phuket Opinion: Out of the house, into a brave new world

Legacy Phuket Gazette



The Chief of the Phuket Women’s Development Fund is 52-year-old Natthaporn Phanitpichatewon. A Chiang Mai native, she has lived in Phuket for 30 years. She is a realtor and board member of the Phuket Red Cross and the Juvenile Observation and Protection Center.

Here she talks about why women shouldn’t stay home and how she helps women start their own businesses.

PHUKET: My passion is to help women develop themselves, especially housewives. Traditionally, Thai women – especially rural women – believe that after they are married they should stay at home and take care of their husband and children.

Nowadays, though, attitudes have changed, and more and more women are working, especially in Bangkok. Phuket is still a little behind Bangkok in this regard, with more women staying at home.

Staying home is not the best option for women because it leads some of them to play cards, gamble, indulge in illegal lotteries and, in general, not use their time productively.

The goal of my organization is to encourage women to develop themselves, to let them know what work opportunities are available to them outside the home, and to provide them with low-interest loans and training to start their own businesses.

We’ve been in operation for only a year, but we’ve already loaned out 20 million baht and helped women start about a 100 businesses.

We were given 70 million baht by the Thai government for this program. We use 80 per cent, or 55 million baht, for loans and 20 per cent for training and administrative costs. Whatever we spend on training will be replaced by the government every year.

We do not loan money to individual women, but to groups of five or more. The women must form a business, and we give the loan to the business. We can loan up to 200,000 baht for a two-year period. The interest is low, 0.25 per cent per month, or 3 per cent a year.

We loan to groups for two reasons: it makes it easier for the women to run a business if they have partners, and it makes it easier for them to pay back the loans. They don’t have to assume the whole financial burden alone.

The loans are available to women who have lived in Phuket for at least six months. They need to be able to prove this by showing their tabian baan and getting a statement from the Kamnam, the village or subdistrict chief, or Phu Yai Baan where they live. The group taking out the loan should all live in the same area.

When they fill out the loan application, they need to specify exactly what they need the money for – each item they will spend the money on. After the business opens, we will inspect to make sure the money was spent as they said it would be.

Women we’ve made loans to have started a range of businesses, including laundries, bakeries, mushroom nurseries, fish ponds, vegetable farms, hair salons and batik painting shops.

We guide women when they are selecting a business to open. For example, if they want to open a laundry, I check to make sure that there isn’t already one in their subdistrict. While demand for laundries in Phuket is high, we believe that each subdistrict can only support one laundry.

Once a business is selected, we can provide training in every aspect of running it.

With laundries, for example, we teach the women how to register the shop, how to manage their money and how to set prices. We teach them marketing so they know how to find customers. We also bring in experts to tell them what they need to know to produce clothes that look professionally cleaned, including how to iron them and how to fold them.

Probably the best business to open right now is a vegetable farm or fish pond. Demand is high and the products can also be sent out of province to be sold.

Our team checks up on the businesses randomly each month. So far, everything is going well. All of the businesses are still in operation, and all of the businesses have kept up with their monthly loan repayments.

— Saran Mitrarat


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand11 hours ago

Tourism officials eye August reopening under “Pattaya Move On” travel scheme

Thailand12 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Covid vaccine for foreigners, PM “not going anywhere”, Boss update | June 15

Best of12 hours ago

Top 8 Affordable Hotels to stay in Bangkok

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand12 hours ago

Central Bankruptcy Court approves Thai Airways debt restructuring plan

Best of12 hours ago

Top 5 secret islands and beaches in Thailand

Best of12 hours ago

5 best national parks in Phuket

Thailand13 hours ago

Australian man arrested for alleged child sex abuse in Thai border town

Best of13 hours ago

10 best fruits and vegetables in Thailand

Thailand13 hours ago

3 dead in 3 truck crash in Surat Thani

Thailand13 hours ago

Bangkok Post and Fazwaz join together to galvanise property listings platform

Bangkok14 hours ago

CCSA has yet to begin talks on lifting alcohol ban at Bangkok restaurants

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Yala enters lockdown today

Thailand15 hours ago

Thai police say they’ve gathered “strong evidence” on transnational drug trade

Phuket15 hours ago

Indonesian fisherman rescued after 9 days adrift at sea

Thailand15 hours ago

More than 100 cats rescued from owner

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8